Circles within Circles

I have been feeling well for three days now. Because of it, I cannot believe there are days when I feel so debilitated (I resisted the urge to say 'when I am so useless'). The minute I feel better - not hyper, just better - it's as if my memory had trouble recalling the bad days. I have real trouble BELIEVING those bad days are as bad as all that.

Bearing in mind that I have been struggling with my condition FULL TIME for 10 years now (I can't believe that either!) I am amazed I can 'forget' what it feels like to not be able to function. Actually, I should not say 'forget': I remember well enough but I cannot feel it any more. When I function, not functioning seems to be pushed back to another landscape, another life, another person. I remember this other person who often inhabits me but I don't feel her.

This doesn't make sense. Then again, what makes sense about this illness? 

  • It cannot be seen, x-rayed, scanned, and identified scientifically - only medically through a list of symptoms that can be universal but also behaviours that are uniquely individual.
  • It responds to medication until such time (as happened to me 10 years ago) as it responds to nothing at all.
  • It responds to therapy but only up to a certain point and providing we are not so ill as to render any 'talking cure' ridiculous inappropriate. When we're in crisis, we're in crisis (and so unfortunately is our family).
  • It purports to be fashionable (if we believe the media) but it is still the subject of deeply rooted stigma.
  • It is supposed to be a sign of genius and yet it manifests for most of us as a self-destructive force. There isn't much genius in suicide. In my view, genius is being strong in our capacity to express who we are to the fullest extent at the service of all other living creatures and forces, in our understanding of the past, our ability to apply its lessons in the present, and our passion for creating a better future for all concerned. Slitting your wrists or swallowing a bottle of pills in utter agony and desperation achieves none of those things (and don't talk to me about Van Gogh...)

After 10 years of dedicating my entire life to surviving my condition, if I cannot understand how I can be so disabled at times that breathing is an effort, how can I expect anybody who has never had any experience of this to understand what bipolar disorder is capable of? 

If I cannot understand how one day the invisible veil of lead that rests on my body can be lifted and life suddenly feels 'normal' and easy, then how can I expect anyone else to have the slightest inkling of what day to day living is like for me?

The worst thing about 'good days' is when they end and I find myself back to square one. In truth though there are no squares in Bi-Polar Land: only never-ending circles within circles.

And so it's round and round I go. It would be nice to feel I am moving forward rather than continuously walking and repeating the same steps but I guess there are no straight lines in Bi-Polar Land either.

No squares, no straight lines: only wavy lines that go around in circles. 

It sounds utterly crushing until such time as I remember that our beloved planet earth moves in circles too, around the sun seasons after seasons, on its axis days after nights.

Whatever happens next in my little part of the globe, I find our orbiting home planet a very comforting companion  :0)

I hope there would be a

I hope there would be a permanent cure for this. - Marla Ahlgrimm

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